Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stressor of the Day - Promise House Style

So......I'm sitting at my desk today and see two police cars in front of our building. They were side by side blocking the street, and it looked like they were just chatting with each other.....UNTIL....I see one of the officers get out of her car and walk toward a white van that was parked incorrectly in front of our building. As she started writing the ticket, I jumped up from my desk, ran down the hall to the lobby, asked whose van it was, found out it belonged to a parent who was bringing her son here for help, told her she was getting a ticket, and ran outside to see if I could stop them from writing it. The mother ran out with me, but we were too late.

The police cars had pulled away. I took the ticket from the windshield--$45.00!! I thought the woman was going to faint. Her son came out with her, and she started talking to him in a foreign language. I couldn't understand the language, but I could certainly understand the tone. She was VERY angry. When I asked her what she said, she told me that she told him it was his fault that she got the ticket, because if she hadn't needed to bring him here, none of this would have happened!

NOW......before you judge this woman harshly for what she said to her son, try to remember the amount of stress she is under and what additional stress was added by this $45.00 ticket. She can't pay that ticket! And if she doesn't pay it in 30 days, the amount doubles, and then if she doesn't pay that, they issue a warrant for her arrest. Just what she needs. I did, however, say that maybe she shouldn't go so far as to say the ticket per se was her son's fault. She agreed and iterated what I already knew.....this was one more stressor she did not need.

About this time, the two police cars had stopped up the block at the stop sign. We ran up to the corner and asked if they could reverse the ticket, since she and her son were clients of Promise House and had NO money and didn't know where to park or that parking that way was illegal.
Nope. The officer said they can't "undo" tickets once they've been written, but she could call the number on the back of the ticket, give them the circumstances and see if they would dismiss it. I encouraged her to do so and to have the police call me if they needed verification of the story.

This very frustrating story is a perfect metaphor for what our families go through every day. One barrier after another, never enough money, or time, or food, or clothing, or resources to fix what to most of us would have been a minor inconvenience.

Which is exactly why I jumped up and ran outside to try and stop the police. I KNOW what this will do to this mother, her relationship with her son, and the incredible stress it will put on her financially.
I just really hope she calls that number on the back of the ticket and that whoever she talks with that day is feeling compassionate, or that they will at least call me. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!!

Spring has Sprung in Dallas!! My Redbud Tree is blooming, as is my Yellow Jasmine. My Japanese Maple has tiny buds just about to burst into beautiful red leaves, and my Jonquils are very yellow! No purple Iris yet, but they will emerge soon, I’m sure.

The dead plants in my various porch planters look REALLY dead now that other stuff is blooming, so I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

I LOVE Spring and Summer! I’m sorry for those of you up North who are still waiting, but I am jumping up and down with glee over the “bustin’-out-all-over I see happening in Big D. The azaleas are just about to add to the riot of color all over town (my all time favorite!), and The Dallas Aboretum is literally bursting with color and a zillion new flowers! Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, (Hallelujah!)--I don’t even mind losing the hour—time just seems to expand with the longer days.

Time to get the screen porch spiffed up and cleaned for porch-sittin’ and spying on the neighbors (one of my favorite past times), put some color in the porch planters, clean out the flower beds (of course, I’M not going to do that, but time to do it anyway), and generally do some Spring Cleaning.

Speaking of which, what kind of Spring Cleaning do you need to do? Besides all the house stuff, how about clearing the cobwebs out of our brains and letting in some new thoughts, ideas, and information? Time to take the vacuum cleaner to our heads and clean out all that dead stuff that’s been hibernating all winter. Time to breathe in new life and exhale all that old, dusty stuff.

Or, if you’ve been incubating new plans, ideas, or projects all winter, NOW is the time to put them into action! Paint that wall, put in that bird bath, redesign your living room, create! Spring is the time for birth, rebirth, resurrection. The death of Winter gives way to the newness of Spring and all the possibilities that come with it. Time to come out of hibernation and create something grand!

OMG! I just saw a Robin for the first time this Spring! How cool is that?